IMDb > Downhill Racer (1969)
Downhill Racer
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Downhill Racer (1969) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 8 | slideshow) Videos
Downhill Racer -- A skier and his coach battle it out on the mountain in this trailer for classic late 60s film

Overview

User Rating:
6.2/10   2,334 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Oakley Hall (novel)
James Salter (writer)
Contact:
View company contact information for Downhill Racer on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
2 February 1970 (Sweden) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
How fast must a man go to get from where he's at?
Plot:
Quietly cocky Robert Redford joins U.S. ski team as downhill racer and clashes with the team's coach, played by Gene Hackman. Lots of good skiing action leading to an exciting climax. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Awards:
Won BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Distilled to Its Densest Connective Tissue See more (35 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)

Robert Redford ... David Chappellet

Gene Hackman ... Eugene Claire

Camilla Sparv ... Carole Stahl
Karl Michael Vogler ... Machet

Jim McMullan ... Johnny Creech
Kathleen Crowley ... American Newspaper Woman

Dabney Coleman ... Mayo
Kenneth Kirk ... D. K. Bryan
Oren Stevens ... Tony Kinsmith
Jerry Dexter ... Ron Engel
Walter Stroud ... Mr. Chappellet
Carole Carle ... Lena
Rip McManus ... Bruce Devore
Joe Jay Jalbert ... Tommy Erb
Tom J. Kirk ... Stiles
Robin Hutton-Potts ... Gabriel
Heini Schuler ... Meier
Peter Rohr ... Boyriven
Arnold Alpiger ... Hinsch
Eddie Waldburger ... Haas
Marco Walli ... Istel
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jack Ballard ... Candy Vendor (uncredited)
Robert Brendlin ... Announcer (uncredited)
Harald Dietl ... Journalist (uncredited)
Christian Doerman ... Brumm (uncredited)
Richard Egan ... Extra in bar scene (uncredited)

Michael Gempart ... Hotel Receptionist (uncredited)
Rudi Gertsch ... Selznick (uncredited)
Walter Gnilka ... Austrian Journalist (uncredited)
Werner Heyking ... Helgerson (uncredited)
Noam Pitlik ... T.V. Announcer (uncredited)
James Sandoe ... Spectator (uncredited)
Harald Schreiber ... Oliviera (uncredited)
Alexander Stampfer ... Skier No. 16 (uncredited)
Ulrike von Zerboni ... Jeanine (uncredited)

Natalie Wood ... Herself (uncredited)

Directed by
Michael Ritchie 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Oakley Hall  novel
James Salter  writer

Produced by
Richard Gregson .... producer
 
Original Music by
Kenyon Hopkins 
 
Cinematography by
Brian Probyn 
 
Film Editing by
Richard A. Harris  (as Richard Harris)
 
Art Direction by
Ian Whittaker 
 
Costume Design by
Edith Head (uncredited)
 
Makeup Department
Bill Lodge .... makeup artist (as William J. Lodge)
 
Production Management
Walter Coblenz .... production manager
Paul Hitchcock .... executive in charge of production
Stanley O'Toole .... executive in charge of production: Paramount Pictures (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Walter Coblenz .... assistant director
Graham Ford .... second assistant director
Kip Gowans .... assistant director
David Wimbury .... second assistant director
 
Art Department
Tony Teiger .... props
 
Sound Department
Elden Ruberg .... sound recordist
Kevin Sutton .... sound recordist
 
Special Effects by
Roy L. Downey .... special effects coordinator (uncredited)
 
Stunts
Stefan Zürcher .... ski stunts
Joe Jay Jalbert .... stunts (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Anthony Busbridge .... camera operator (as Tony Busbridge)
Alan Hewison .... camera operator
Joe Jay Jalbert .... camera operator
Jean-Paul Janssen .... camera operator
Jean-Pierre Janssen .... camera operator
Austin Parkinson .... camera operator
Michael Temple .... camera operator
Arthur Wooster .... camera operator
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Cynthia May .... wardrobe
 
Editorial Department
Nick Archer .... supervising editor
 
Other crew
Angela Allen .... continuity
Renate Arbes .... location manager (as Renate Neuchi)
Don Record .... title designer
Robert Simmonds .... location manager
Joe Jay Jalbert .... technical advisor (uncredited)
Natalie Wood .... production assistant (uncredited)
 

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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
101 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Filming Locations:
Company:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Actress Sherry Jackson was one of the early choices to play Robert Redford's love interest, but her agent rejected the deal without her knowledge.See more »
Goofs:
Miscellaneous: Tires don't squeal on snow, yet Dave manages this when driving the Porsche.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Welcome to Hollywood (1998)See more »
Soundtrack:
That Old Black MagicSee more »

FAQ

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful.
Distilled to Its Densest Connective Tissue, 12 July 2011
Author: jzappa from Cincinnati, OH, United States

This buried New Hollywood pearl literally follows and watches a single-minded outsider from Colorado who, having netted a position on the American ski team upon the lay-up of another athlete, fanatically chases the objective of winning, with a full-blown indifference to etiquette and professional fine points. David Chappellet is a cad, a handsome rough-country bumpkin who veils his social anxiety and lack of knowledge with a bold mystique. In reality, he'd simply be an ignorant rube, but here he enters the abundant class of antiheroes who rallied round to characterize American movies of their vital, unforgettable period. Even then, Chappellet gave the impression of being an aloof, intractable character, and his tough, emotionally unapproachable nature maybe contributed to the film's market letdown. Regardless, his dogged insubordination was the yardstick tackle at the time: Consider Beatty in Bonnie and Clyde, Hoffman in The Graduate, Fonda in Easy Rider, Nicholson in Five Easy Pieces and One Flew Over Cuckoo's Nest, Gould and Sutherland in M*A*S*H. So while Chappellet's posture was wholly egocentric instead of rational, his impulse to beat the system and go his own way did not then feel as radical as it does today after the Reagan and post-Reagan eras of manufactured sports victories and champion cops who treat mass destruction like a football game.

One of the film's trademark properties is hand-held footage from the viewpoint of the racers, which had never been done in a feature film before and was no Sunday stroll when the skier was doing over fifty miles per hour and the 35mm Arriflex camera weighed forty pounds. Whether or not one wants to speak in terms of its time, the film was and still is outstanding in its aura of the velocity, reverberation and pressure of competitive skiing. The chomp of the snow, the bone-freezing and muscle-constricting time lags on gusty mountaintops for a skier's rotation to come, the unstoppable tick of the timer, the archaic appearance of the skis and soft boots are all minutiae encapsulated with terse, nimble, confident strokes. Olympic connoisseurs were undivided in commending the film's correctness and candor, a scarce phenomenon in the far-fetched universe of Hollywood sports movies.

Going for an induced documentary tactic considerably shaped how the film would come across, as did the selection of hard-core verite cinematographer Brian Probyn. Together, Probyn and director Michael Ritchie have here a more or less internal documentary about Redford's body, capturing it from angles that highlight his geometry in conjunction with his attractiveness. Multiple times, Redford stops to look in a mirror and observe himself with unopinionated, unaffected frankness.

Their gritty, biting drama is stark, distilled to its densest connective tissue, as keen as arid residue. Several of the film's evocations of character and emotion go unspoken, staying within unless discriminatingly stimulated. Chappellet is a man of few words who won't budge by the narrowest margin, and it's consistent that the film frequently cuts away right when it appears he may be strained to say something, to be slightly more human than normally seems. All that he hides is suggested throughout his stopover back home in a Rockies town. His father, a friendless stick-in-the-mud, is a man of even fewer words than his son, and the curt, indignant, and self-centered outlook he squeezes out toward David's fortuity betrays all we require to go on about David's egocentric relentlessness.

The undercurrent of the climax is whether or not Chappellet will allow being given the high hat by a stylish yet emotionally unavailable Swiss beauty throw him off on the slopes, and Ritchie's deliberate, atmospheric debut eschews all the frills that would classify American sports movies by the time Rocky emerged seven years afterward. It's gristly, cynical, painstaking, minimalist and declines to fabricate unwarranted enthusiasm. The film is courageous in securing itself to a character as minimally sympathetic as Chappellet, and Redford never loses sight of the role to comfort us that he, the actor, may be less conceited and selfish than the guy in the script. Chappellet is an unmitigated self-aggrandizer, and while Redford would play such parts again, he never did so quite this uniquely, with such craving invigorated by formative years. The ideas of Downhill Racer are lucid, having to do with the temperament of rivalry and the sacrifice of triumph. The brilliant closing line of Ritchie's important second film with Redford, The Candidate, "What happens next?" said by Redford upon being elected, is understood in the ending of Downhill Racer.

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